One of numerous Pac-Man
clones for the Atari 2600, Jawbreaker
was actually one of the more inventive attempts to one-up Atari's own miserable adaptation of the famous arcade game. Fast-moving, unpredictable, colorful, and fun, it's yet another entry in a bizarre sub-genre that seemed to appear only on the Atari VCS: dental scare games (also see Tooth Protectors
and Plaque Attack
, players guide a pair of chomping teeth around a maze consisting of several rows, while eating dots and avoiding a gang of hard candy smiley faces that will shatter the teeth. At first, it appears that the hard candies only travel in one direction, but within a few minutes they'll begin to reverse direction to trap the teeth, necessitating a quick escape through escape hatches which slide along the maze walls. Periodically, a large white square will appear at the center of the maze. This will briefly make the hard candies soft-centered, and the teeth can eat them -- but this window of opportunity closes quickly, and any candies that were munched during that time will reappear when it's over. Players advance to the next level by clearing the maze of dots -- oh, and they get their teeth brushed too.